Sri Lanka holidays really do merit their status as an increasingly popular tourist to-do. If you live there however, you’ve got even more opportunity to give the island’s incredible attractions their due. Here are 5 unmissable things to get you started.
It’s a cliche, but Sri Lanka really does have some of Asia’s best beaches. You won’t find the party scene of Bali or Thailand here, but if you want to unwind, Sri Lanka’s southern coast is ideal. These tend to get quieter and more unspoiled the further east you go, while further west, Mirissa and Unawatuna are a bit livelier.
If you take the new Southern Expressway, you can leave Colombo and be sitting on some of the world’s most pristine tropical coastline in less than an hour and a half. Surfers should make a beeline for Arugam Bay on the east coast.
2. The hill country
The magnificent hill country must surely feature during your Sri Lanka Holidays. While Kandy offers stunning temples and vibrant festivals, the region truly comes into its own when you get into the tea producing areas.
Highlights include the towns of Nuwara Eliya, Ella and the incredible summit of Adam’s Peak. Climbing the approximately 5,200 steps up to it is traditionally done at night during the April Buddhist pilgrimage season. The view from the top at sunrise is breathtaking.
3. Sinharaja forest reserve
The most biodiverse spot in Sri Lanka, now designated both a biosphere reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, contains species of endemic birdlife almost impossible to see elsewhere including the Sri Lanka Blue Magpie and Red-faced Malkoha as well as Green pit vipers and Purple-faced langur monkeys.
4. The Cultural Triangle
If you’ve ever wanted to visit the great Buddhist temples of Cambodia, but have been put off by the sheer volume of tourists, Sri Lanka offers several quieter, though arguably just as impressive, alternatives. The Cultural Triangle is marked by three places of huge historical importance: Sigiriya rock fortress and the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. The first of these is an extraordinary site – a fortress built atop a 200m high boulder requiring a slightly hair-raising ascent up rickety steps. Both Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa were Sri Lanka’s first capitals and contain ancient architecture to rival Egypt. Don’t miss it.
5. Yala National Park
One of the greatest safari style experiences outside Africa can be had at Yala, Sri Lanka’s prime destination for elephant and leopard spotting.
Most visitors spend some time in the nearby village of Tissamaharama where you can organise a half or full day jeep-based tour for a reasonable price. Four-fifths of this natural reserve is closed to visitors, but your chances of seeing impressive wildlife are high.
So, this has been 5 unmissable things for you to do on your Sri Lanka Holidays. I hope you enjoyed and look forward to hearing your wonderful experiences!